Vermeer's Hat

The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

By Timothy Brook
(Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Paperback, 9781596915992, 272pp.)

Publication Date: December 23, 2008

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“Elegant and quietly important…Brook does more than merely sketch the beginnings of globalization and highlight the forces that brought our modern world into being; rather, he offers a timely reminder of humanity’s interdependence.”—Seattle Times

A painting shows a military officer in a Dutch sitting room, talking to a laughing girl. I n another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. Vermeer’s images captivate us with their beauty and mystery: What stories lie behind these stunningly rendered moments? As T imothy Brook shows us, these pictures, which seem so intimate, actually offer a remarkable view of a rapidly expanding world. Moving outward from Vermeer’s studio, Brook traces the web of trade that was spreading across the globe. Vermeer’s Hat shows how the urge to acquire foreign goods was refashioning the world more powerfully than we have yet understood.

About the Author
Timothy Brook is Professor of History at the University of Toronto. He is the author of "Praying for Power: Buddhism and the Formation of Gentry Society in Late-Ming China" (1993), and "Quelling the People: The Military Suppression of the Beijing Democracy Movement" (1992), and the coeditor of "Nation Work: Asian Elites and National Identities" (1999) and "China and Historical Capitalism: Genealogies of Sinological Knowledge" (1999).
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